Shred guitar or shredding is a virtuoso lead guitar solo playing style for the guitar, based on various advanced and complex playing techniques, particularly rapid passages and advanced performance effects. Music critics have stated that shred guitar is associated with "fast alternate picking, sweep-picked arpeggios, diminished and harmonic scales, finger-tapping and whammy-bar abuse",while others contend that it is a fairly subjective cultural term used by guitarists and enthusiasts of guitar music. It is commonly used with reference to heavy metal guitar playing, where it is associated with rapid tapping solos, fast scale and arpeggio runs and special effects such as whammy bar "dive bombs". Metal guitarists playing in a "shred" style use the electric guitar with a guitar amplifier and a range of electronic effects such as distortion, which create a more sustained guitar tone and facilitate guitar feedback effects.
Lead guitar is a musical part for a guitar in which the guitarist plays melody lines, instrumental fill passages, guitar solos, and occasionally, some riffs within a song structure. The lead is the featured guitar, which usually plays single-note-based lines or double-stops. In rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, punk, fusion, some pop, and other music styles, lead guitar lines are usually supported by a second guitarist who plays rhythm guitar, which consists of accompaniment chords and riffs.
A guitar solo is a melodic passage, instrumental section, or entire piece of music written for a classical guitar, electric guitar or an acoustic guitar. In the 20th and 21st century traditional music and popular music such as blues, swing, jazz, jazz fusion, rock and metal guitar solos often contain virtuoso techniques and varying degrees of improvisation. Guitar solos on classical guitar, which are typically written in musical notation, are also used in classical music forms such as chamber music and concertos.
Sweep picking is a guitar playing technique. When sweep picking, the guitarist plays single notes on consecutive strings with a 'sweeping' motion of the pick, while using the fretting hand to produce a specific series of notes that are fast and fluid in sound. Both hands essentially perform an integral motion in unison to achieve the desired effect.
The term is sometimes used with reference to virtuoso playing by instrumentalists other than guitarists, as well. The term "shred" is also used outside the metal idiom, particularly in bluegrass musicians and jazz-rock fusion electric guitarists.
An instrumental is a musical composition or recording without lyrics, or singing, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a Big Band setting. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word song may refer to instrumentals. The music is primarily or exclusively produced using musical instruments. An instrumental can exist in music notation, after it is written by a composer; in the mind of the composer ; as a piece that is performed live by a single instrumentalist or a musical ensemble, which could range in components from a duo or trio to a large Big Band, concert band or orchestra.
Jazz fusion is a musical genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians, particularly those who had grown up listening to rock and roll.
Ritchie Blackmore, best known as the guitarist of Deep Purple and Rainbow, was an early shredder. He founded Deep Purple in 1968 and combined elements of blues, jazz and classical into his high speed, virtuostic rock guitar playing. Songs like 'Highway Star' or 'Burn' from Deep Purple and 'Gates of Babylon' from Rainbow are great examples of early shred. Blackmore separated himself from the pack with his use of complex arpeggios and harmonic minor scales. His influence on Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen was definitive for the evolution of the genre.
Richard Hugh Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter. He was one of the founding members of Deep Purple in 1968, playing jam-style hard-rock music which mixed guitar riffs and organ sounds. During his solo career he established the heavy metal band Rainbow, which fused baroque music influences and elements of hard rock. Rainbow steadily moved to catchy pop-style mainstream rock. Later in life, he formed the traditional folk rock project Blackmore's Night, transitioning to vocalist-centred sounds. As a member of Deep Purple, Blackmore was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2016.
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.
Rainbow are a British rock supergroup led by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, active from 1975 until 1984, 1993 until 1997, and 2015 until present. They were originally established with Ronnie James Dio's American rock band Elf, but after their first album, Blackmore fired the backing members and continued with Dio until 1979. Three British musicians joined in 1979—singer Graham Bonnet, keyboardist Don Airey and then-former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover—and this line-up gave the band their commercial breakthrough with the single "Since You Been Gone". Over the years Rainbow went through many personnel changes, with each studio album recorded with a different lineup, and leaving Blackmore as the band's only constant member. The singers Joe Lynn Turner and Doogie White followed Bonnet, and numerous backing musicians have come and gone. In addition to Blackmore, Rainbow's current lineup includes Ronnie Romero on vocals, Jens Johansson on keyboards, Bob Nouveau on bass and David Keith on drums.
In 1969, guitarist Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin composed 'Heartbreaker'; his guitar solo introduced many complex techniques mixed together (very fast note playing with hammer-ons and pull-offs). Page included excerpts of classical music in the solo when playing it live. Steve Vai commented about it in a September 1998 Guitar World interview:
James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal. Their style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.
"Heartbreaker" is a song from English rock band Led Zeppelin's 1969 album, Led Zeppelin II. It was credited to all four members of the band, recorded at A&R Recording and Atlantic Studios in New York City during the band's second concert tour of North America, and engineered by Eddie Kramer.
This one 'Heartbreaker' had the biggest impact on me as a youth. It was defiant, bold, and edgier than hell. It really is the definitive rock guitar solo.
In 1974, the German band Scorpions used their new guitarist Ulrich Roth for their album Fly to the Rainbow , for which the title track features Roth performing "... one of the most menacing and powerful whammy-bar dive bombs ever recorded". A year later, Roth's solo guitar playing for the album In Trance "... would become the prototype for shred guitar. Everything associated with the genre can be found on this brilliant collection of songs—sweep-picked arpeggios, harmonic minor scales, finger-tapping and ... jaw-dropping whammy-bar abuse".
Scorpions are a German rock band formed in 1965 in Hanover by Rudolf Schenker. Since the band's inception, its musical style has ranged from hard rock to heavy metal. The lineup from 1978–1992 was the most successful incarnation of the group, and included Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker, Matthias Jabs, Francis Buchholz, and Herman Rarebell (drums). The band's only constant member has been Schenker, although Meine has been the lead singer for all of Scorpions' studio albums, while Jabs has been a consistent member since 1979, and bassist Paweł Mąciwoda and drummer Mikkey Dee have been in the band since 2003 and 2016 respectively.
Fly to the Rainbow is the second studio album by German hard rock band Scorpions, released in 1 November 1974 in the United States.
In Trance is the third studio album by German rock band Scorpions, released by RCA Records in 1975. The album's music was a complete departure from the progressive krautrock of the two previous albums in favor of a hard rock sound of shorter and tighter arrangements with which the band would achieve their later global success and fame; extended suites in the vein of songs such as "Lonesome Crow" and "Fly to the Rainbow" are absent altogether. It is the first album by the band to contain the now-famous logo and controversial artwork.
In 1979, Roth left Scorpions to begin his own power trio, named "Electric Sun". His debut album Earthquake contained "... heaps of spellbinding fret gymnastics ... and nimble-fingered classical workouts." In 1978, a "heretofore unknown guitarist named Eddie Van Halen" from Los Angeles released "'Eruption', a blistering aural assault of solo electric guitar" which featured rapid "tapping", which "had rarely been heard in a rock context before". Chris Yancik argues that it is this "record, above any other, that spawned the genre of Shred."
Guitar Player's article "Blast Into Hyperspace With The Otherworldly Power Of Shred" reviews the book Shred! and states that the pioneers were "Ritchie Blackmore, jazz fusion player Al Di Meola and Eddie Van Halen". Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen advanced this style further with the infusion of Neo-classical elements. Progressive rock, heavy metal, hard rock, and jazz fusion have all made use of and adapted the style successfully over the years. In general, the phrase "shred guitar" has been traditionally associated with instrumental rock and heavy metal guitarists. This association has become less common now that modern forms of metal have adopted shredding as well. In the 1990s, its mainstream appeal diminished with the rise of grunge and nu metal, both of which eschewed flashy lead guitar solos. Lesser known guitarists like Shawn Lane and Buckethead continued to develop the genre further in the 90s.
In an interview in March 2011, Steve Vai described 'shred' as:
The terminology used for someone who can play an instrument, and has such a tremendous amount of technique that what they do just seems completely effortless and absurd. It's like this burst of energy that just comes out in extremely fast tearing kind of playing where the notes actually connect. Shred has to have a particular kind of 'tide' to it, I think, that actually gives you that 'blow away' factor that makes it impressive, to a certain degree."
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Shredding includes "sweep, alternate and tremolo picking; string skipping; multi-finger tapping; slurs, [and] trills."[ citation needed ] Shred guitarists use two- or three-octave scales, triads, or modes, played ascending and descending at a fast tempo. Often such runs are arranged in the form of an intricate sequential pattern, creating a more complex feel.
Alternatively, the lick[ clarification needed ] can be played by multiple-picking notes (alternate picking), or picking just the first or second note of a string followed by a rapid succession of hammer-ons and/or pull-offs (slurs). Rhythmically, a shredder may include precise usage of syncopation and polyrhythms. Sweep picking is used to play rapid arpeggios across the fretboard (sometimes on all strings). The tapping technique is used to play rapid flourishes of notes or to play arpeggios or scalar patterns using pure legato with no picking (the picking hand is used to "tap" notes on the fretboard). Various techniques are used to perform passages with wide intervals, and to create a flowing legato sound. Some performers utilize complex combinations of tapping, sweeping, and classical-style finger picking. This increases speed by reducing the motion of the plucking hand.
The 2000s-era focus on rapid guitar playing is centered around speed competitions using mainly the classical music piece Flight of the Bumblebee , which includes very rapid playing. Many shred guitarists demonstrate their mastery of the piece and others on sites like YouTube.
Shred guitar players often use electric solidbody guitars such as Ibanez, Gibson, Fender, Kramer, Kiesel/Carvin, Jackson, Charvel, Schecter and ESP. Some shred guitarists use elaborately-shaped models by B.C. Rich or Dean, as well as modern versions of classic-radical designs like Gibson's Flying V and Explorer models. Tremolo bars (also known as "whammy bars"), which are hinged bridges that can be bent down or up in pitch, are an important part of shred playing, as they permit the "dive bombing" effect and many sounds which are not possible with a fixed-bridge instrument.
Guitars with double-cutaways give performers easier access to the higher frets, allowing extended room for the fretting hand to get extended reach onto the higher notes of the fretboard. Some shred guitarists, such as Scorpions' Ulrich Roth, have used custom-made tremolo bars and developed modified instruments, such as Roth's "Sky Guitar, that would greatly expand his instrumental range, enabling him to reach notes previously reserved in the string world for cellos and violins."
Most shred guitar players use a range of effects such as distortion and audio compression units, both of which increase sustain and facilitate the performance of shred techniques such as tapping, hammer-ons, and pull-offs. These and other effects units, such as delay effects are also used to create a unique tone. Shred-style guitarists often use high-gain vacuum tube amplifiers such as Marshall, Carvin, Peavey, Soldano, Mesa Boogie, Orange Amplification, Laney, Hughes & Kettner and Randall. To facilitate the use of audio feedback effects with the guitar, shred guitarists use high gain settings, distortion pedals and high on-stage volume.
In 2003, Guitar One Magazine voted Michael Angelo Batio the fastest shredder of all time.In the same year, Guitar One voted Chris Impellitteri the second fastest shredder of all time followed by Yngwie Malmsteen at third.
In 2011, Guitar World magazine focused on shredding outside the heavy metal music genre with an article discussing the magazine's Top 5 Shredding Bluegrass songs. The list included songs by instrumentalists Tony Rice, Josh Williams, Bryan Sutton, Chris Thile and David Grier. [ citation needed ] Guitar World ranked Al Di Meola – Elegant Gypsy , Van Halen – Van Halen , and Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz (featuring Randy Rhoads on guitar), as the top three shred albums of all time, respectively.Music Radar's list of the top 20 greatest shred guitarists of time featured Al Di Meola, John Petrucci and Steve Vai as the top three, respectively.
The term jazz guitar may refer to either a type of guitar or to the variety of guitar playing styles used in the various genres which are commonly termed "jazz". The jazz-type guitar was born as a result of using electric amplification to increase the volume of conventional acoustic guitars.
Yngwie Johan Malmsteen is a Swedish guitarist, songwriter and bandleader. Malmsteen first became known in the 1980s for his neoclassical metal playing style in heavy metal, and has released 20 studio albums in a career spanning almost 40 years. In 2009, Time magazine rated Malmsteen as among the 10 greatest electric guitar players of all time.
Tapping is a guitar playing technique where a string is fretted and set into vibration as part of a single motion of being tapped onto the fretboard, with either hand, as opposed to the standard technique of fretting with one hand and picking with the other.
Paul Brandon Gilbert, is an American hard rock/heavy metal guitarist. He is best known for being the co-founder of the band Mr. Big. He was also a member of Racer X, with whom he released several albums. Following Mr. Big's disbandment in 1996, Gilbert launched a solo career, for which he has released numerous solo albums, and featured in numerous collaborations and guest appearances on other musicians' albums.
Rising Force is the first studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 5 March 1984 through Polydor Records. The album reached No. 14 on the Swedish albums chart, No. 60 on the US Billboard 200, and received a nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1986 Grammy Awards. It is regarded as a seminal release in the shred and neoclassical metal genres.
Neoclassical metal is a subgenre of heavy metal that is heavily influenced by classical music and usually features very technical playing, consisting of elements borrowed from both classical and speed metal music. Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore pioneered the subgenre by merging classical melodies and blues rock. Later, Yngwie Malmsteen became one of the most notable musicians in the subgenre, and contributed greatly to the development of the style in the 1980s. Other notable players in the genre are Randy Rhoads, John Petrucci, Jason Becker, Tony MacAlpine, Vinnie Moore, Uli Jon Roth, Stéphan Forté, Wolf Hoffmann and Timo Tolkki.
Jason Eli Becker is an American musician, songwriter and composer. At the age of 16, he became part of the Shrapnel Records-produced duo Cacophony with his friend Marty Friedman. They released the albums Speed Metal Symphony in 1987 and Go Off! in 1988. Cacophony broke up in 1989 and Becker began doing solo work, having released his first album Perpetual Burn in 1988, also through Shrapnel. He later joined David Lee Roth's band and recorded one album with him, A Little Ain't Enough.
Michael Angelo Batio, also known as Mike Batio or MAB, is an American heavy metal guitarist and columnist from Chicago, Illinois. He was the lead guitarist for the Los Angeles-based glam metal band Nitro in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Joe Stump is an American guitarist and composer. He is currently playing for the band Exorcism, Raven Lord, HolyHell and his solo project. Stump plays in a style original to Yngwie Malmsteen and has released albums with his band, Reign of Terror, as well as with an earlier band from Boston called Trash Broadway, and as a solo artist.
Konstantinos Karamitroudis, also known as Gus G, is a heavy metal guitarist. He currently plays with his band Firewind. He has also played in Mystic Prophecy, Nightrage, Arch Enemy, Dream Evil and for Ozzy Osbourne.
Daniel Joseph Donegan is an American musician, who currently serves as the guitarist/keyboardist for heavy metal band Disturbed when he replaced original and founding guitarist Brandon "Hub" Harisson. Donegan began playing guitar as a teenager and eventually formed a band called Vandal, which was a 1980s-style hair band. He also played with some of the members of Vandal in another band that was called Loudmouth. Donegan was added to the guitar show "Chop Shop's" list of "Top 100 Most Complete Guitar Players of All Time" at number 76. Donegan is currently pursuing a side project band, Fight or Flight in collaboration with Disturbed band member Mike Wengren.
Chris Impellitteri is the lead guitarist and founder of the heavy metal band Impellitteri. In 2008 Guitar World magazine named Chris Impellitteri as one of the fastest guitarists of all time. In 2003, Guitar One Magazine voted Chris Impellitteri the 2nd fastest guitar shredder of all time, behind only Michael Angelo Batio; Yngwie Malmsteen was dubbed the 3rd fastest shredder.
Economy picking is a guitar picking technique designed to maximize picking efficiency by combining alternate picking and sweep picking. Specifically:
A string harmonic is a string instrument technique which uses the nodes of natural harmonics of a musical string to produce high pitched tones of varying timbre and loudness. String harmonics are "high pitched tones, like a whistle's, are produced when the musician lightly touches certain points on a string." "A flute-like sound produced on a string instrument by lightly touching the string with the finger instead of pressing it down," against the fingerboard.
Akira Kajiyama is a Japanese guitarist who is known for his work with Joe Lynn Turner.
Katrina Johansson is an American guitarist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She released her debut extended play, Guitarsongs Volume 1, in 2005, which was notable for featuring fellow shred guitarist Michael Angelo Batio on bass. In 2007 a second EP was released, entitled Love, Surrender, Forgiveness.
Dave Reffett is a hard rock and heavy metal guitarist, singer, producer and bassist from Blue River, Kentucky.
Heavy metal guitar is the use of highly-amplified electric guitar in heavy metal. Heavy metal guitar playing is rooted in the guitar playing styles developed in 1960s-era blues rock and psychedelic rock, and it uses a massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos and overall loudness. The electric guitar and the sonic power that it projects through amplification has historically been the key element in heavy metal. The heavy metal guitar sound comes from a combined use of high volumes and heavy distortion.